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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Sound, frequency, pitch
Homemade harmonica made from popsicle sticks, straws and rubber bands


Can you name the bestselling musical instrument in the world? If you said harmonica, you are right! The harmonica was said to be patented in 1821 by Christian Buschmann, a 16-year-old German boy. Since then, it has become the top-selling instrument in the world and a household item in many places. Luckily, creating beautiful noise is not just an art—it is also a science! In this activity, you will design and explore your own harmonica-like instrument made from household items. Time to tune up!


Megan Arnett, PhD, Science Buddies
Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.


  • Two large craft sticks (at least six inches long)
  • One wide rubber band (#64 size works well)
  • One plastic drinking straw
  • Two small rubber bands
  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • An adult helper
  • A piece of paper
  • A pen or pencil



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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Sound, frequency, pitch
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